Silky cashew cream and basil pesto go into this crispy panko topped, totally vegan, and 100% delicious spaghetti squash bake!
I created this dish while seeking a fun new way to use my lemon pistachio pesto, which I shared with you earlier this week. The pesto was born out of a late summer use-up-the-rest-of-the-basil-growing-in-my-back-yard kind of whim. But then I wanted something more suitable for fall when putting it to use. I've been itching to mess around with spaghetti squash. If you haven't cooked with this stuff yet, you're missing out. It's super easy and fun, in a kitchen dork kinda way. Any night of the week you can easily pop one of these in the oven, roast just as my recipe below outlines, and top with your favorite pasta sauce. I suggest trying out some homemade marinara sauce for a healthy alternative to traditional pasta.
For this spaghetti squash bake, I decided to get a little more involved. I wanted to create something rich and satisfying enough to stand on its own as a main dish. Something where you'd never miss those little pasta strands of refined carbohydrates that we all crave so much. Something that would make you want to yell "this is so much better than spaghetti!" This dish totally does the trick. I served it alongside a handful of spring mix and a little slab of tofu (I always get my protein in), but you could just as easily eat a plate of it as a meal. The cashew-pesto cream adds just the right rich, satisfying element and is actually really tasty on its own. I might need to explore this part of the recipe some more.
Although I've linked you to my own pesto recipe here, you can go the quick and dirty route by buying a commercial pesto. I can't guarantee it will be as tasty though. You could also use your favorite pesto recipe. All kinds of creative pesto recipes are popping up lately, subbing different herbs for basil, different nuts for the pine nuts (my recipe does this) and adding unusual flavorings. Go right ahead and experiment with those versions in this recipe. I'm sure there are lots of ways to make this turn out delicious.
Vegan Creamy Pesto Spaghetti Squash Bake
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- ½ cup raw cashews soaked in water 4-8 hours and drained
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp. pesto
- 1 cup milk of choice use something unflavored and unsweetened
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ cup panko
Preheat oven to 375. Poke a few holes in squash with a knife and bake for 1 hour, or until easily penetrated with a knife. Remove and allow to sit until cool enough to handle.
While your squash is cooling, prepare sauce by placing cashews, pesto, milk, flour, nutritional yeast and salt into blender or food processor bowl. Process until well blended.
Spray medium cast iron skillet or baking pan with cooking spray.
Cut squash in half. Remove seeds. Now for the fun part: take fork and scrape out the insides.
You should get a bunch of nice spaghetti like strands. Place these strands in your skillet (or baking pan, but I'm partial to the skillet), then add sauce. Mix everything together, right in the skillet. So easy.
Top with panko and bake for about 35 minutes, or until nicely brown. Allow to sit for a few minutes before digging in.